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Yesterday a group of inmates from the Palace planned to go to Pretty Boy Floyd’s in Ellsworth for dinner.  Departure time was 4:15.  We were all very excited about the prospect of a wonderful dinner and sufficient libation to make it a memorable evening.

What was not expected was a blinding wind and rain storm.  Trees snapped in half, big limbs blocked streets, howling wind and blinding rain prevailed.   The bus carrying most of our group was buffeted along the highway, but Karen Larsen did an excellent job keeping it on the road and her passengers out of danger.  It was a harrowing experience for some of the group  who are not accustomed to experiencing such raw and exciting prairie weather.

At the appointed time of joining up with the bus people, and another car full of passengers, Ally, Todd, Karen and I stood just inside the door to Pretty Boy’s to harbor ourselves from the driving rain.  The power had just failed and the town was plunged into darkness, including  the underground cavernous rooms of Pretty Boy’s.  It was literally as dark as the proverbial  dungeon.  What to do?  I couldn’t lead 20 people down those stairs into total darkness and hope the lights came back on.  I lived there and remember what it’s like to get power restored and how long it sometimes takes.

Someone got on a cell phone and called the DQ to see if they had lights.  Yes, they did, and so did the Ellsworth Steak house, so off we went to the Steak House to see if they might save the day and save the day they did.  Tina and Rick Davis, one waitress and the bartender…plus the chef jumped into action and seated all 20 of us around a big table.

Then they brought some “snacks” to tide us over….glorious large platters of delicious sliced cantaloupe, watermelon, whole wonderful strawberries plus overflowing bowls of chips and salsa.  And, our need for libations were met.  It was “happy hour” and that pleased everyone.

The lights went out, so once again we were at the mercy of whatever they could prepare with one hand tied behind their backs.   They could not have done better.  Tina explained what they could serve with their limited resources and everyone got something that was exceptionally good….salads of every type and a wide variety of Mexican food.  There was more that enough to fill the ravenous appetites.

Then on top of that, she had a wide assortment of homemade pies.  A piece de resistance.  They are wonderful.  I think Leslie Brooks makes them for the Steak House. You’ll never find a more delicious piece of pie than one of hers.  Everyone is still raving about the pie.

The day was filled with excitement, more than 90 year olds are used to, but they shouldered it very well and want to return.  A couple said they would check the weather first.

I can’t speak for the Manor, but I do know that Kim Fair, the marketing director, was well aware of the storm as she lives north of Brookville and was caught in the height of it.  She tried repeatedly to reach the drivers to warn them of the severity of the storm and tell them not to leave Salina….or turn back if they had departed.  She couldn’t reach any of them.

The trip turned out all right.  Everyone was safe although some were a little shaken from the harrowing experience.  It’s probably the most exciting thing to happen to some of us in months.  Mostly we experience someone playing a saw or a harp and call it a day.  I loved the storm…love to be out in it.  One just can’t overlook the  forces of nature, respect and enjoy them.  We all slept like rocks last night and required naps today.

I can’t say enough about how accommodating Rick and Tina Davis were.  They were simply amazing in what they did for us.  Everyone wants to go back again…on purpose this time, so I hope we can.

Thanks for tuning in…

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